Youth Rugby Coordinator Jamie Burke Attends World Rugby High Performance Academy in Stellenbosch
Glendale Youth Rugby’s program coordinator Jamie attended the World Rugby High Performance academy at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport in South Africa as part of a growth initiative from World Rugby. We spoke to her about the event upon her return.
Where did you go in South Africa and what was the reason you went?
I went to Stellenbosch Academy of Sport – home of the South African Rugby team and sport in general. It was part of the World Rugby High Performance Academy. They do the academy each year, but this was the first year where the participants were all women. It was part of World Rugby’s women’s rugby growth initiative. The goal of the program is to allow coaches, referees and S&C professionals with high performance potential to have a professional development opportunity and create a larger network of knowledge and resources.
Was it a camp or training? What were the best parts of the trip?
It was mostly a training. Though probably more aptly a “professional development opportunity.” Best parts of the trip actually happened outside of the classroom over the informal conversations and relationships that were formed with the incredible women who were there in the program. I feel like I have an expanded network to leverage in the rugby community, which is great.
What expansions have you seen in regard to youth rugby in the US?
Rugby is growing at a rapid rate, but our big challenge will be to figure out how to grow it in a sustainable way. The sport has so much to offer all shapes, sizes, sexes, etc and I love the values it teaches, but as it gets bigger I want to make sure we don’t lose that and lose the values of rugby in the growth!
By going to South Africa did you find new ideas for the Glendale youth rugby program?
The trip allowed me to have a lot of conversations with the other coaches, many of whom are development officers in their respective countries and/or programs, about how youth rugby is managed there. We were able to learn from each other about what things have been successful and also to learn that many of us face a lot of the same challenges as we look to grow the base of this sport.